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Shelving Options to Transform a Room

Adding shelves to a room is a great way to maximize storage and style. From open shelving to bookshelves, built-ins, and more — there are endless ways to add shelves to your space, regardless of your style. If you’re looking for some living room shelf inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Check out these shelf ideas you’ll want to consider.

Flank Your Fireplace

Make the most of an awkward space on either side of your fireplace with built-in shelves. Custom built-ins that are designed specifically for the room maximize space and make your fireplace a prominent focal point.

Cabinets With a Floating Shelf Unit

Instead of going all-in on built-ins, consider pairing base cabinets with a floating shelf unit for a lighter and more minimal look. For a project like this, choose dark paint for the back wall to add eye-catching contrast and depth to the space.

Glass Display Cabinet

Glass display cabinets are both stylish and functional. They can give some added protection for delicate or sentimental objects that you want to display, while also providing plenty of storage space. Plus, if you are renting and drilling into the walls isn’t an option, a glass display cabinet is a great alternative.

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a great choice for any space. They are easy to install, affordable, and available in many different shapes and finishes to suit any design style. Floating shelves are a great way to display small trinkets and artwork above the living room couch.

Asymmetrical Built-ins

If you’re working with a smaller space that doesn’t have room for built-ins on either side of the fireplace, try an asymmetrical look by installing built-ins on just one side.

Utilize Unexpected Spaces

Not everyone has the space for large, wall-to-wall built-ins. Try utilizing an unexpected place such as underneath the staircase. This ingenious option can create an unexpected and whimsical area for displaying treasures.


You can’t go wrong with good old bookcases. Add some much-needed storage to your space with a pair of bookcases on either side of a window or TV. Use them to showcase books, family photos, or decorative accents.

Wall Shelf Units

Wall shelves are a great way to add some extra storage without taking up valuable floor space. Group multiple shelf units together to create a large installation and then fill it with books and sentimental knick-knacks and artwork.

Room-Dividing Shelves

Large shelving units help create a division between and entryway and living room. The use of both open and closed shelving creates the opportunity for decorative elements to be displayed, while clutter is easily hidden away. Plus, light can easily flow through the space which helps it feel nice and open.

Create a Moody Accent Wall

Make your built-in shelves pop by painting the whole wall a contrasting color to the rest of your space. Add a couple of dedicated wall sconces to the display to really make the wall pop.

Arched Alcove

Arches are having a moment in interior design right now and are a great way to soften up any space. Try adding shelves to an arched alcove for a seriously stylish and artistic finish.

Ultra-Thin Built-ins

Don’t be afraid to use your living room shelves to add to the artistry and design of the room. For a contemporary living room, thin built-in shelves on either side of the fireplace became a primary display space to carry color throughout the room.

Floating Mantel

Use a floating shelf above a fireplace or an electric insert to create a DIY floating mantel. It’s the perfect way to add some extra shelf space while also adding some serious style and warmth to any space.

Wall-to-Wall Display

Create a wall-to-wall shelf unit and media console using a combination of open shelving and cabinetry. Try installing the shelves at varying heights so you have room to store books, artwork, or a minibar tray for afternoon cocktails.

Built-ins Behind Your Couch

Sometimes you have to get creative when it comes to adding shelving to your space, particularly if you’re working with a small living room. Don’t be afraid to use up that dead wall space behind your couch by adding built-ins like DMAR Interiors did for this project.

Display Shelf Units

Add some display shelf units to showcase all of your favorite artwork, books, and decorative accessories. Display units on either side of the living room couch creates a stylish and moody living space.

Wall-to-Wall Bookshelf

Turn your living room into your very own home library space with some wall-to-wall bookshelves. Consider stacking your books horizontally and vertically to provide some contrast and movement to the overall display.

Picture Ledges

Picture ledges are thin floating shelves with a lip to hold artwork, photos, and picture frames securely. They are great for people who like to switch up their photos and artwork frequently.

Stack Wall Shelves

No built-ins? No problem! Mimic the look of a bookcase by stacking wall shelves on top of one another for a stylish and open display. The use of delicate gold brackets brings some added style and personality.

Long Floating Shelves

Add some stylish open shelving to your space with long floating shelves. Use them above cabinets or utilize a blank wall to create a shelving display.

Source: The Spruce

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